Not every home has a perfect back garden, some are very steep which can often be difficult to maintain and some are sectioned off to different levels with large stones. If you have created a rock wall that separates the patio area with the lawn then you are probably wandering how to turn that boring dull rock wall into a stunning one with beautiful flowers.
It is fairly easy to grow a wide range of plants in a rock garden, especially if it was built to provide a variety of different conditions from dry and sunny to moist and shady.
When building a rock garden for the sole purpose of decoration, try to make it south facing as many plants will thrive in these types of conditions. Also create some north facing terraces to provide suitable sites for plants that prefer shade, such as ferns, mossy saxifrages and ramondas. Some plants prefer partial shade of west and east facing slopes. Many plants such as Phlox douglasii, P. subulata, helianthemums and Pulsatilla Vulgaris are adaptable to different conditions.
Crevices and Walls
Plants that grow in vertical rock crevices in the wild can be planted in a similar way on a rock garden by wedging them into small gaps between rocks. This is most easily done during construction of the rock garden.
On north facing rocks lewisias, ramondas and haberleas thrive. For other aspects use androsaces, encrusted saxifrages, campanulas, erodiums, and alyssums.
High exposed terraces are likely to be especially well drained, so reserve these for plants that prefer such conditions such as sedums, Acantholimon, Edraianthus, helichrysums and tulips. In the lower, moist areas and especially beside water, plant small moisture lovers such as Primula Rosea, P. frondosa, Trollius pumilus , Saxifragafortune and Mimulus cupreus.
The particularly good drainage associated with this feature suits plants from dry climates, as well as those adapted to scree conditions in the wild, further increasing the range of plants that can be grown, suitable candidates include many saxifrages, androsaces, drabas, cyclamen, sempervivums, Phlox nana, Juno irises and Ranunculus species.
Make up a compost mix for rock gardens according to the needs and lime-tolerance of plants. A neutral mix will grow the widest range of plants. Most plants get away to a good start if they are planted in spring. Plant bulbs while they are dormant, except for snowdrops which are best planted after flowering when in full leaf.
Choose plants that will suit the size of the rock garden and group plants of an appropriate size together, if large plants are planted next to smaller ones they are likely to take the moisture from the soil, leaving the smaller plant suffering.
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